Friday, December 31, 2010

New Hoops at Etsy... Hello New Year

There are some new works in my Etsy shop... On a very hot & sticky day, I couldnt resist getting a bit of creative energy out. Sounds like its time for a cup of tea before the night's festivities begin! Happy New Year all! x x x

Friday, December 10, 2010

Luggage Tags got very cool

This is one of those moments that I sit here & say, "I wish I thought of that!" But I didnt... Bob & Mabel did.
They seriously have to be the coolest luggage tags ever. It has a plastic pocket on the back for all your details & a fabric tape loop for all the necessary attaching!

I can just imagine using one of these fine tags as a gift tag on a going-away present... yep, a double purpose present.  Buy them at Bob & Mabel's MadeIt Shop! Check out their blog for other wonderful things.

Feels Just Right

I unashamedly can say that I love making my 'hoop art'.  I often get orders for the same design, on the same fabric with the same sewing.... and I love the fact that there a person out there that wants my work! BUT...I get a thrill out of the new pieces... perhaps even the same illustration on different fabric, or with different sewing techniques, or with the addition of mesh, lace & doilies! With glee, I pull out all my fabric & lay a copy of the illustration on each of them all until one of them "feels just right".

I have many smaller pieces of fabric from op-shops or from favourite pieces of clothing... I find it hard to use these fabrics because I know once they are gone, they are gone for good and I cant just run down to Spotlight & buy some more. But when I hold an illustration to these fabrics & it feels like there is an instant marriage... then my scissors come out!

I am so excited about each piece I make, while also looking forward to my next op-shop adventure when I will source more "perfect" fabric for the next design!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I likey like.... Inaluxe

I seriously love their designs... if you are looking for Christmas presents... what a about one of Inaluxe's prints? Check out their blog also for tonnes of cool stuff. They have an Etsy Online Shop too... check it out here!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Walk a Mile in Lace

Yes, you've already seen & hopefully admired my original 'Walk a Mile' with her orange/red vintage shoes... Today, hot off the press, I present... 'Walk a Mile in Lace'.
I found a gorgeous vintage lace curtain in an op-shop one day but have not been able to let my scissors near it. Today it got the chop... and the green shoes seem very happy about it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Circus Gretel with the sweaty hands

New illustration.
Finally Gretel goes to the Circus... feels like she has been waiting forever! I'm not sure if I would go as far to say that I am afraid of heights, but the palms of my hands & the soles of my feet are sweating.... yep sweating right now as I type...just at the thought of being up high on that tight-rope! So will I join the circus in the near future? Mmm... it would be hard to say no to a costume like this one.

Currently for sale:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

feeling kind of honoured....

Arrived home today to find one of my favourite pieces was sold. (Thank to Etsy & Inaluxe).
There is still something super special about a stranger appreciating the things I make.
But... it gets better.... Inaluxe then mentioned my work in her blog!
Thank you
& thank you again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


the earphone-less option... apparently it is preferred by the public... Voting & scoring still continuing...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bearded Fellow in Work Attire...

New Threadless Tshirt design up for scoring soon I hope! If you want to vote, click on the link & remember its a score out of 5! Thanks for your support!

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Threadless Designs

I think I am getting more 'Threadless'....
Its not easy but I am determined to keep trying.
As Dave said to me... its like learning a new language!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

For Sharon

Flicking through art books in Borders one day, I was inspired by an artist (whose name I need to search for)... inspired as a result of her amazing art I decided to draw something similar... for Sharon... for her 40th birthday. There was such a need in me to make something for her - not just buy a gift - I feel like I give part of myself with each thing I make. It feels so good to give. And I know my creative, artistic sister will completely appreciate it. Happy Birthday Sharon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Threadless Tshirt

Dear friends,

You can help me get my design printed by going to Threadless and scoring it. If my design is printed, Threadless will pay me $2,500 in cash and prizes for it!  Please help spread the word!

Tracy Chaplin

Click here:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mr Coconut Head

As I drove the car, my 6 yr old daughter sat in the back seat, talking constantly.... I am guilty of occasionally zoning out, while dishing out automatic responses to her questions.  On this particular day I heard her say..."Mum... what if we were driving in our car & we looked over and saw a man with a coconut for a head. And he was driving a coconut car. But don't worry, its just a story."  

Her zany, little story triggered the creative juices & I asked her to repeat what she said... "Ummm,... There was a guy back there with a coconut head!"   I laughed. She laughed. She had a look of pride and satisfaction on her face...her little story had made us all laugh. 

I couldn't get the image of it out of my head all day...
"There was a guy with a coconut head"
"There was a guy with a coconut head"
There was nothing else for me to do but to create a tshirt design of Mr Coconut Head.
He still makes me smile.

I love you Meekie-Moo

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bearded Lady is in Town

I have a regular visitor...
...overwhelming me
...messing with my mind
...turning my emotions upside down
...forcing me on an old rickety rollercoaster where every corner feels like it will be my last.
It is horrible & there are so many tears. But I know the visit will come to an end.
I know I won't always feel like a freak who has escaped from the circus.

I know that I will be myself soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Please wear white

We had just over 30 minutes to get ready when we suddenly remembered that the birthday dinner had a 'Dress Theme'.... a WHITE dress theme. I have nothing against wearing white, its just that I find black more slimming? hides the dirt?...its forgiving?
I had nothing white to wear.
I don't even own a white t'shirt.
Not to fear.... cause I own a sewing machine!
Now before you all begin to think that I whipped up a whole outfit in 30 minutes, you are mistaken. Instead, I ripped the bottom edge off an old white sheet & with the help of a large vintage button, I created an oversized white hair-clip.  I thought it was lovely. It was white. And I was extremely proud of my speedy, yet fashionable solution.

Later that evening, I visited the restaurant's bathroom. I was busy washing my hands when a kind, elderly lady interupted me to give a compliment....
"What a lovely little hat" she said.
"Thank you", I replied.
She left the room and I smiled to myself... you know your hair-clip is over-sized when it is mistaken for a lovely little HAT.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sharon Hits 40!

Click on the link (or HERE) & you will head to RedBubble.... get your 40th birthday tshirts for a limited time only!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Maximilien Dress-up Doll

My little boy is now 3! Yes, 3 years have whipped past me & here I find a boy in front of me who is a real character. He loves to dress up... daily. He feels music in his bones & I have no doubt that he'll be some sort of musician one day. He loves people, especially his sister. He always wants tickles on his back at bedtime. His ruggie & dummy... well, we will have to find a way to wean him off those sometime soon. He is clever, affectionate, loving, funny, full of life... He is our little boy & I love him too much. 
I made him a Red Bubble tshirt today... I cant wait for it to arrive! 
Happy Birthday Maxie.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Love Lamp

It laid on the side of the road... a beautiful, abandoned, 3-legged chair. I did my best to fix it but a carpenter, I am not. I lathered on glossy lemon-coloured paint & waited in anticipation for it to dry.

It has prime position in my loungeroom, however my poor woodworking skills make it unsuitable for sitting... but my new ebay-purchased lamp seems to love it. His plump orange glazed body standing proud as punch on my lovely crippled chair.

It sits next to me glowing. Keeping me company as I sketch & read.

I love lamp.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Swinging Girl goes soft...

There are soooo many times that I want to draw a girl swinging, skipping, dancing. And so today, I have the pleasure of bringing Swinging Girl to your computer screen.
However, she will travel further, for in a few days time Swinging Girl will find herself for sale as a cushion cover! Is it possible that anyone will buy her?... maybe & maybe not.  So with the possibility of my hard work not selling, why do I persist to make, to draw.... Why do I keep dreaming of actually receiving some sort of income for the creative things that I love to do?

I draw & sew & paint & make for me I guess, because I love to...because something in me cries out to be creative. And... The thought of someone actually wanting to part with their dollars in exchange for my artwork seriously excites me.

I am oh so grateful for websites such as (an online shopping place for handmade wonders!).... but it is so easy to see the amazing things others are doing & wonder if I will be lost in the crowd?

Nevertheless, I will do it... even if I fail... I have tried.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zorro leaves his mark

Prior to today, I have seen her once in the past 9 or 10 years. It seems totally ridiculous that that much time could have passed. Now, she is back in my life and I feel honoured to call her 'friend'. She is so lovely in many ways.... but let me just tell you of one particular thing... one of my experiences today.
We sit in my home drinking coffee, eating cake, talking... I find myself telling her things that express my vulnerabilities... I openly describe moments to her where I have made a fool of myself... I risk looking silly... I risk looking emotional... I risk looking weak... I allow myself to be myself, 'warts and all'.
I know I must sound terribly insecure right now as I blog about being vulnerable with a friend. I am not insecure. As my friend left my house today I realised how I hadn't had to pretend to be anything that I wasn't. We so often wear our 'masks' to hide our flaws, to cover up our inadequacies, to appear more of the person we think others want to see. There was no mask today. She allows me to be myself. She is not judgemental. She is open. She is honest. She is kind & funny. And when it is time to go home, she is one of those friends that you don't want to let leave! You feel refreshed after spending time with her.
She is the friend I want to be to others.
She is Bek.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In The Mirror

Its almost dinner time & I had the intense need to just quickly draw.... I didnt think, I just drew 'her'. She is not finished but a draft. She is more a 'thought'.

Well, I invite you now to my world of unfinished doodles.... they nest away in my computer, in my note books, in my journals. They are everywhere.

I sketched her little freckles & I felt a time-warp... of when I detested my freckles & longed for the pure, clean canvas of facial skin that I saw on magazine covers. Neither was I fond of the gap in my front teeth & would wrap a rubber band around my teeth in the hope of closing the whole!

How strange that now it is those things that I love about me. They are part of making me, me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Serene Sally

What is it about winter approaching that makes me think of patience? Possibly it is just the current lesson in life I am learning & therefore I see it in every window. Today has again been rainy with occasional sunshine peeking through, like an unreliable friend. But my washing still hangs under the pergola, damp & threatening to perfume itself with odour of wet dog. I am trying to be patient.

Perhaps this is my problem with dressmaking... following a pattern seems so time consuming.  Halfway into the project & I desperately want to see the finished product!  So I rush it... I work without the pattern... I use pure guess-work & find myself with unwearable clothes.  

As for the comfort food of carrot cake... after a timely baking process, I must then further wait for it to cool before layering it with cream-cheese icing! It will be no surprise that most times our cakes are eaten without the indulgence of icing.

I know that I am learning patience.... I am so very slowly learning patience. But it is worth it, an investment in my life, in my marriage, in all my relationships. I try to look for it's lessons in every step I take & often watch myself fail. But failure doesn't show that I am weak... it shows that I have tried. 

The thought of patience growing gives me a great sense of both 
strength & 
Hello winter.... I know you are not far away... I am ready for you.

(Thank you to 'Love Dare'... a must read)The Love Dare
(Thank you to Renee who walks an amazing journey. Love you)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yellow Submarine

Is this what if feels like to have an addiction? Ha!... Possibly too strong a word. But, it would seem that every op-shop I drive past has various old wooden chairs out front... enticing me, teasing me, calling out in their little wooden voices. I want them. I want them all.  
For the moment, only one $5 chair has made it into my home. But I know there are more to come. What's more... I want to paint them all glossy yellow & glossy lemon & any other glossy shade of yellow I can find. But the paint must be thick & of course, glossy.   Oh.... I feel my heart warm just imagining them.... half a dozen odd, yellow, wooden chairs, gathered around on my deck waiting to entertain visitors. 

Today, while treating myself to an op-shopping afternoon I bumped into a gorgeous friend who kindly told me her favourite op-shop location. I was so impressed.... I know many who do not want to divulge their secret shops for fear you will buy all the 'good' stuff! But I sit here tonight ever so grateful for my friend's advice, as I am now the owner of a new pre-loved jacket. It was just sitting there waiting for me as I entered the shop... a perfect fit... a perfect price... like a gift just for me. So, to my beautiful friend I say 'thank you' because although it was my own money spent, it feels like a gift from you!

(love you Shannon)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Walk a Mile

A friend was wearing the most delightful shoes the other day. I was compelled to drool over them. Yes... they were an op-shop find! Sadly, I am one of those people who never seems to find cool op-shop shoes in my size.
I'm not opposed to it but I think it's kind of a strange thing wearing second-hand shoes... Someone else, a complete stranger has worn those shoes... Someone that possibly leads a very different life to your own... Someone that possibly has different beliefs... different ideals... different dreams...

Its probably no surprise that travelling down this thought path brought a song to mind (Elvis was close behind!)....

"If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other's mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you'd be
I believe you'd be surprised to see
That you've been blind

Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes..."

(Thanks to Lisa for her inspiring shoes.)

Brown Paper Packages

Vintage wallpaper.
Crumpets with real butter & honey.
The sound of a vinyl record playing.
Hot cross buns with fruit.
The Scarfs at Grace Emily.... wow.
Bumping into old friends.
Being inspired after bumping into old friends.
Visual art diaries.
Ribbons & lace.
Finding postcards in your letterbox.
Finding real limes on our little lime tree.
Kind neighbours that randomly give Easter treats.
Helping an elderly man who has lost his way home.
Tea cups... real tea cups.
The wonderous transformation of applying paint.
Op shopping.
Easter... the real story.

These are a few of my favourite things.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Flamenco Free

We were told it was the place to be... a small spanish restaurant in Brunswick. Even now I salivate at the thought of their food & of course, the sangria. But it was the stage at the front that excited me - a wooden platform so much smaller than I expected.
I eagerly awaited the flamenco dancer to take the floor with her fabric-laiden costume, slicked back dark hair adorned with a large flower, red lipstick... always red lipstick. There is something so romantic & passionate & strong about flamenco.
I sat, wide-eyed, waiting.
A flash of disappointment as 'he' appeared. This was not what I had been expecting. Just a male flamenco dancer? Yet..... he had such presence. His heels began hit the floor & I was captivated. The room seemed mesmerised by his movements.... but he danced as if he didnt even know we were there... drawing every emotion, every desire, every ounce of strength into his limbs... effortlessly. A confident vulnerability.
I can still see his feet moving at a speed that I didnt know possible. At so many times I was torn between watching in amazement & also wanting to close my eyes... to soak in the sound, the atmosphere, the experience. The whole night was an unexpected treat. (Thanks Jaq)

Recently, I found myself overwhelmed with a rollercoaster of emotions & no real outlet. It was then that I had a flashback to my Spanish night in Melbourne. I stood in my kitchen looking at the floorboards beneath me.... if only I had 'the' shoes, I would be dancing it all out right now; my poor bruised pine floorboards would be echoing throughout the house. But I dont have the shoes & I'm sure Dave would prefer our floorboards stayed in one piece. So, instead I just danced, completely uncoordinated, completely uninhibited...
I danced because I am glad that I live feeling emotions...
I danced because I dont want to be ruled by emotions...
I danced cause I love to live.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rufus Rex Rocks

I cant even begin to capture the gorgeousness of this boy... but he is workin' it!... in Melbourne during fashion week.

Just wanted to brighten his mum's day, one of my favourite Melbournites!....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Domestic Doll

I was about 8 years old, standing at the kitchen sink in my Modbury North home. My exact words were "I want to be a house wife when I grow up". Even as I type it now, laughter gurgles up inside me! The concept of washing, sewing, cleaning, cooking, darning & organising was extremely appealing to me then.

Domestic Goddess... I am not. I do my best, but there are always more interesting things that can be done. The facts are though.... when you have a family, children need meals & school uniforms & school lunches; husbands actually need all those things too! Laundry is such a constant task that often overwhelms me... actually the whole concept of housework is definitely not crumpets with honey.

It is no secret that for most of my life I have sought to earn my value, find my worth by the things I do. Only recently have I realised that I am of great worth just because I am me... not because I have a blog, not because of anything I do.... I have value just because I am me! It has been a freeing revelation. But prior to this, I have fought against the 'value' that I feel from being a housewife & mother.... the 'house servant'... cleaning up the wee & poo from toilet training bottoms; the cooking; the dishes; the laundry; the constant tidying..... need I go on?

The other day I scrubbed a school uniform to erase some subtle stains. In the morning I presented the clean uniform to my daughter & pointed out its cleanliness. Uh-huh. A typical 6 year old response that didn't dampen my joy. I had beautifully cleaned her uniform & I didn't even have to! I enjoyed doing it for her.

There is something in me that wants to nurture... to make sure that my family leaves the house with clean clothes, with food & nutrition for the day... there is something in me that wants them to start each day knowing I love them & care for them. I want to provide the things they need for that day. That housekeeping-backpack is no longer weighing me down.... I do what I can, when I can. But the things I do - I do with love. I am grateful for what I have been given.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An invitation from India

"I watch a man sitting on a washing rock in the shallow waters of the river,
He is alone, removing himself far from the busyness of the main ghat, the children, dogs, postcard vendors, tourists...
He stares into the calmness before him, one foot playing with water.
I wonder what he is thinking... so much at peace it seems.

This time of day is wonderful - the light is pale & cool.
In a constant flow, dozens of small birds fly towards their nests in the ghat buildings, then back over the river, forming a continual net of activity over our heads.
Their sound is delicate & is a reminder that this place is more than just a site for tourists, this is a home for many.

Now he is doing his washing - beating the orange lungi that he was wearing only moments ago.
A huge boat of tourists slowly glides down the river.
The sky is beginning to blush - giving colour to the desert bank opposite us - a place that normally glows white in the fierce midday sun.

A young girl is pulling a small dog by the tail. It is impossible to ignore the dozens of sick dogs that live here... or the cows that share the 2nd floor of my guest house... the orange stained cement where men continually spit... the tiny alley ways that invite you to get lost... invite you into Varanasi... invite you to fall in love with India..."
(Tracy's travels, April 1998)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Warrior Chic

I'm a bit of a Tim Burton fan & was excited to see one of his latest movies this week. I was definitely not was brilliant. To sum it up, it was a story of identity & purpose & destiny. A girl entered a world where her identity was questioned by others & she even found herself questioning it. But there was an amazing strength in her & she was forced on a journey that allowed her to see who she was & where she was going. Mmmm... I am really not wanting to give too much of the movie away but....

In the last 3rd of the movie, she was confronted by someone who questioned her identity again. But she was not the same girl she was at the beginning of the movie. She responds by saying something like this... "My mother is Margaret Kingsley, My sister is Elise, & my father was Samuel Kingsley & he had a vision that reached halfway around the world. I am Alice Kingsley. I am his daughter! And....." Ok, so you just have to see the movie to hear it in full. The power of that dialogue is probably lost in this little blog, but sitting in that cinema I felt every word, I wanted to stand up & roar a cheer especially when I saw her go into battle & achieve what she never thought she was capable of!

I know who my family is & I am aware of all they have given me, of who I am because of them. But I also have a Father greater than my biological family... my heavenly Father. He knows me. He loves me. He created me with a future, with talents, with purpose, with destiny. He is amazing. He has a vision that doesn't just go half way around the world, it travels around the galaxy & back! I know Him. And I am his daughter! I know who I am.

Aaaah... The freedom, the strength in knowing who you are.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Paper Treasures

I have a favourite magazine. It is beautiful. It shouldn't even be called a magazine because that word carries the notion that it is disposable. My favourite magazine is not disposable, it does not find it self in the recycling bin. It is kept. A paper treasure in my bookcase.

These magazines speak of art & fashion & music & craft & life... they are an inspiration for me. Surely I should be telling the world about it? Encouraging you all to buy it also? Because in doing that I would be keeping the magazine's business going...helping their profits...keeping it on the racks!

But instead I keep my magazine a secret for the fear that everyone will also love it & then it will become 'mainstream'. Then it will be full of adverts. Then it will lose it's uniqueness & be tailored for the general public. Then I will lose my paper treasure.

(side note: happy birthday -for yesterday- to my beautiful friend Jo Kirk.... what a privilege is has been to have you in my life for the past 22 years! I love you)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Skip, skip, walk

He was 8 or 9 years old & he was walking back his classroom. He was on his own. Suddenly he broke out into a skip! Yes, he skipped the rest of the way to class. It was free & easy & it just looked right. It made me smile.
Now, Im pretty sure that if I started skipping here & there, I would just look awkward. On top of that, most of you would probably laugh at me. We are often so moulded by what people think of us... by how they will judge us. Who knows, perhaps if this boy's friends were around the skipping may never have happened?
But today, he skipped.... like he didn't have a care in the world! How fab! Something in me leapt. Something in me wanted to skip too. Next time you see me I just may be skipping!... laugh at me if you like... I wont mind a bit.
(join me if you dare)